Don’t Look At Linkedin

LinkedIn-Changing-TOSDo you want to know the worst thing an unemployed person can do?  Does anyone have any idea what the worst thing for someone who is already at their lowest, can possibly do to feel like the bottom of someone’s shoe after walking through Lollapaloza? It’s not Facebook like you might think – no, the happily engaged couple and your budgeting baby bump always get my instant “like” because, I mean, come one, who says no to love?! The answer to the question is actually ironic considering you’re out of a job — link din. You know, the professional resume site where people can publicly gawk at your employment history and silently judge you based on your salary, job description, company, and the like. It’s awful.

Now, much like Facebook, Linkedin takes the places you’ve worked and suggests it’s own “connections” from that to create your personal online network of people you’ve never cared for you’ve worked with or around before. People can accept you invitations and recommend you for jobs or endorse skills that you’ve put on your resume (because that’s what we need, more people to tell us what we are and are not good at – said no one ever) to better enhance your chances of getting another job. In a world filled with enough social media to make you feel like you already know a person backwards and forwards through pictures, tweets, status updates and check-ins this site cuts out all the bullshit and highlights what’s really most important in most Americans lives, accomplishments.

As most of you know, I was fortunate enough to spend two years in DC (pre legal drinking age) interning at some of coolest places one can intern in that city. American Legacy Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, Congress (of course) and The White House. I’m proud of these internships but I am always slightly embarrassed about bringing them up to people outside of a job interview setting because I don’t want to sound obnoxious.  Sure, beating out hundreds of other applicants to intern at the most prestigious political institution in the free world is mind blowing but I’ve never wanted that to be the most impressive thing about me, so I hardly mention it, especially outside of the political world I’m usually in. But when I’m on Linkedin it’s all former interns all the time. There they are, heading up non-profits, staffing Congress, taking pictures with Joe Biden (Wait- Joe Biden?!), being all around the amazing people I knew they would be when I met them and it’s depressing. It’s almost as if the famous quote “With great power to network your way into any government office, comes great responsibility to do something with it,” was a lecture I missed during orientation. Now I’m forced to sit on the couch all day applying to jobs while knowing full well that all my peers are deputy directors of “insert cool selfless campaign here”.  Awesome, I wasn’t already close to finishing this wine bottle, but now I am.

It’s not that I’m jealous. Those people are just well off twenty somethings with the same fundamental problems as anyone else, they’re just smart and well connected. I try to remind myself that I too am smart and well connected but after the 2012 election I was political beat, too tired from weeks of 80 work weeks to even think about moving back to DC. Not to mention I could afford a 2 bedroom apartment for $900 a month in Arizona while everyone else was paying upwards of $1500 for a studio in DC.  This is what I tell myself while I scroll through pages upon pages of smiling employed people who I envy, if for nothing else than that they’ve found something they love to do that also happens to pay their bills and they’er younger than thirty.

The real way I snap myself out of it, is by realizing that those people are the exception, not the rule. We’re in an economy where it take on average 5 years for people to finish their undergraduate degree, usually because they have to work full or part time in order to sustain themselves. After that’s over, your new, shiny, college degree will get you about 30k a year IF YOURE LUCKY before you slum it back to get a advanced degree, which will set you back another $100k and get you the job of your dreams, except now your 30. Forget kids, and a family, you’ve barely had time to support your basic addiction to alcohol food let alone date. We’re competing in a global market where every kid got good SAT scores, went to good colleges, had the same internships and for less jobs with less money than ever before and yet more debt and higher cost of living than any generation before us. Cell phone bills are never less than $150 dollars a month, rental markets in every city across the US, gas is a steady $3.75 minimum and did I mention you can’t qualify for any loans because you’re already in debt.

And then there you are, looking for jobs and updating you Linkedin page and you have to see what everyone else has accomplished and your reality feels more like a bunch of excuses than anything else, and the only thing you feel, is discouraged.

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Eat, Pray, Love?

10738_10152291774368910_706292919_nI’m forcing myself to write this blog. I haven’t posted anything in 3 weeks and believe me, my procrastination writers block hasn’t gone unnoticed . That’s why when my boyfriend and I were incredibly blessed with an opportunity to do some spring skiing in Durango, Colorado I couldn’t wait to write blog after blog curled up next to my cozy fireplace, transcending to a whole new level of personal narrative, inspired beyond words. Well, it’s our last full afternoon here and… I’m forcing myself to write this blog.

The thing is, we had a lot of motivations for taking this trip, all of which are actually quite valid. After a tragic winter, the end of a three year battle with a family member dying from ALS, my boyfriend hadn’t seen the snow in almost 4 years and deserved more than anyone to be excited about something again. Not to mention my previous work schedule hadn’t really allowed for much one-one time together, and a romantic getaway sounded sweet- and needed. Besides, what else can you do when you’re both unemployed and using all your energy not to freak out every moment of everyday about your pending spiral into “loserville”. We had each other, our health, and enough money saved up to take a 10 day escape, so we figured, why not #YOLO . I couldn’t even express how happy I was to be driving away from a desert that had given me nothing but heartache over the past 3 months and onto a brand new adventure.

His plan was to snowboard- all day, everyday, for the entire week we stayed. His new 9-5 was the slopes and out there in the snow, I think it was the closest he’d been to happiness in a long time. My plan was to enjoy the mountains, write, sleep, read, and play while surrounded by the gorgeous Colorado mountains. I was Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love except it was more eating than anything else , but who cares, I wanted relaxation through creativity and fun and that’s what I did. the I went on a long drive through the small mining towns of Silverton and Quary by myself, music blaring, feeling free and daring for just a few hours. I sat in the sun listening to the sound of the icicles dripping on our porch, freezing, but calm. But it wasn’t even 36 hours before reality started to creep into my serenity. What were we going to do about money? What were we going to do about jobs? Could we really pull off a move out of state? (Part of the reason we made the trip was to visit family in Northern Colorado and for me to interview for a perfect job, also located in Fort Collins) Did we really want too?  If we moved out of state together what did that mean for us as a couple? What the hell are we even doing with our lives?! These and a million other questions kept me from sleeping through most of the week. I would wake up early every morning and watch the sun rise over the cascading hills and wish – no pray, that clarity and guidance would come but then nothing, no insight, no epiphany, no greater idea what the fuck was going on, zip! The thing is, after being laid off I felt lost, not any more or less lost than at any other point in my life – but I was just more tired than at any other point in my life. The feeling of running but going nowhere comes to mind. I feel exhausted from life and I’ve only been alive 24 years. If that’s not the most depressing thought you’ve ever read, I don’t know what is.

Everyone (parents, family, friends, random old ladies at the grocery store, etc) keeps saying, “you’re young, you’ll figure it out, don’t worry,” and, although I know this comes from experience, the truth is, I’m almost too jaded to believe them anymore. Liars, all of you! It doesn’t help that just looking through my Linkdin connections makes me want to jump out of a 10 story building at how accomplished everyone else my age seems to be. I don’t want the most impressive things about me to have already happened.

Needless to say, this vacation has yielded more questions than answers. I’m glad to be here, and if I could chose to never leave so that all these questions could remain just that, questions, then I would be happy. But I know I’ll need answers eventually, I just wish I had them.